Central Arkansas photographer finds new ways to capture smiles during COVID-19

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SEARCY, Ark. – A Central Arkansas photographer is finding ways to capture smiles in the midst of the pandemic while also pay it forward to local businesses. 

The virus forced Lydia Brumfield to postpone her portrait sessions.

Now she’s donating sessions and will meet families at their homes, so they can pose on their front steps and show how they’re getting through the pandemic. 

“I’ve had people who come out with pajama clothes just what they’ve been wearing this entire time,” Brumfield said. “Some people come out with their attire they wear to work, I have some people who work at the hospital, or Walmart because they are essential workers and they can’t stay home.”

The catch is families are asked to support a local business of their choice, whether it’s shopping there, buying a gift card to use later, or just making a donation. 

Brumfield is one of dozens of photographers across the country taking these pictures for the social media movement called “The Front Steps Project.”

The project was started by Needham, Massachusetts photographer Carla Soulia.

“I just loved that idea,” Brumfield said. 

Brumfield is having families write what they love about the small business they choose to support and then adding that onto social media posts. She’s also asking families to reflect on how they’re coping. 

“Just include a few sentence telling how has life been different for you during this time,” Brumfield added. 

She then uploads her work to social media and tags it with #TheFrontStepsProjectSearcy, snapshots she knows make up a much bigger picture. 

“We’re just surviving and we’re all in this together,” she said.

Brumfield’s original post about #TheFrontStepsProjectSearcy:

The Front Steps Project is a movement to bring joy and togetherness to our communities by taking family, couple, individual, or roommate pictures on the front porch where residents have committed to #stayhome, if they are able, during this time of quarantine and a way to support our small businesses. 

My donation ask is that you make a purchase at one of our small businesses in Searcy. If you need to buy an online gift card from them at this time to use when they reopen, that works too. When I post your pictures to social media, I will tag and highlight that small business.

These sessions will be 5 minutes, outside in front of your house, from a safe distance of at least 10 feet. All of the planning will be done ahead of time via text or Facebook message.  Once I have a complete list of those signed up, I will plan my route and let you know a more exact time for your session. I will show up at your house at your scheduled time, you all will come out, and I will photograph the group.  

Have fun with it and make it yours. Stay in your PJ’s or dress it up. Be intimate. Be silly. Come out with your coffee cup and your dog.  Hold up a sign with a message for your friends. Let’s document this unique moment in history by remembering that even though this is definitely a trying time, we can be thankful for those we love and a community of people who are #togetherathome.  I think this is a great way to bring some fun and a little more love and affection into the world while all of this is happening around us.

You will receive the edited images from the session via online gallery and I will post your best image to social media for you to share and spread the word about your favorite local small business. 

If you are interested in participating, let me hear from you.  
Like my business page, Lydia Brumfield Photography, 
and then Facebook Message me
or you can call or text me at (501) 230-4656

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